There’s little doubt that Russell Wilson has stepped into the realm of Seahawks royalty for the past 10 years, but Monday night at Lumen Field he might not get a reception that would normally befit a king.
from being traded to the Denver Broncos in March Coming off a decade-long career with the Seahawks in which he became arguably the most recognizable figure in Seattle sports, Wilson has raved about his new environment. Last week he signed a five-year contract extension worth up to $245 million that will keep him in Orange and Blue Broncos until 2028.
Suffice to say, Seahawks fan sentiments are strong. To some, he’s a hero who deserves a standing ovation for bringing home a Super Bowl title in 2014. To others, he’s joined the likes of former Mariners star Alex Rodriguez as one of Seattle’s greatest athletes, Benedict Arnold.
In front of a national audience on Monday night, Wilson could hear an unfamiliar sound from the 12.
Regardless of the reception it receives, it’s clear that the Seahawks community, including fans and business partners, is moving forward.
What does it mean
One of Wilson’s most visible local sponsor partners, Alaska Airlines, said last week that it would soon “end” its relationship with Wilson, who has been the company’s “chief football officer” since 2013.
The airline is also discontinuing the four Wilson aircraft designs, or “liveries,” it has launched in recent years. The most recent livery was presented in September 2021.
“Russell Wilson holds a special place in our hearts as Alaska’s chief football officer,” Alaska spokesman Ray Lane said in a company response. “Russell will always be a friend to Alaska and our relationship over the years has been incredible. We wish him all the best in his move to Denver. The Russell Wilson aircraft’s livery has been retired. At this time, we have no plans to appoint a new CFO.”
At the Locker Room by Lids store on Occidental Avenue in Seattle, the sale racks are now stocked with Wilson T-shirts for 50% off. While a regular Wilson jersey once cost fans $120, you can now pick one up for just $60. A sewn version is $75.
Throughout his 10-year tenure in Seattle, in which he became the franchise’s all-time leading passer and winningest quarterback, Wilson’s was among the most popular jerseys in the store. This year, however, fans wanting to purchase a current Seahawks quarterback’s jersey will have to wait, as store manager Ryan Van Ausdall said the store has no plans to order Geno jerseys. Smith or Drew Lock anytime soon.
Van Ausdall says that these days, the most popular jerseys are those of the receiver DK Metcalf or the No. 12 “Fan.” With so much turmoil and uncertainty surrounding the team lately, No. 12 seems like a safe bet.
“You could say the team is in a rebuilding stage,” Van Ausdall said. “People really don’t know if Tyler Lockett or DK Metcalf or Jamal Adams or whoever could be traded. They don’t really know what team address is.”
At the Seahawks Pro Shop, Wilson jerseys are on sale for $65, and all other Wilson memorabilia is also half price.
The House of LR&C, a retail store owned by Wilson and his wife Ciara, has apparently been unaffected by the quarterback’s departure. The company closed its Seattle University Village location in June after just five months, but opened stores at Alderwood Mall in Lynnwood and Factoria Outlet Mall in Bellevue, along with locations in Scottsdale, Arizona, and Lone Tree, Colorado.
Russell Wilson, villain of Seattle
Many of the Seahawks faithful continue to have raw feelings about Wilson’s departure, six months after his trade to the Broncos.
For some fans, it just hasn’t been long enough to greet him warmly, though many understand his decision to bring his soccer skills to the sunnier climes of Colorado.
“I think booing is bad and Russ really doesn’t deserve it,” Seahawks fan Matt G. Hall said on Twitter. “He wants to play on a winning team and he didn’t think Seattle could offer him that anymore. That said, he would still boo the [expletive] outside the.”
For some, the hard feelings stem not from the fact that Wilson left the team, but from the manner in which he did so.
After spending 10 years as the face of the franchise, ending every press conference with “Go Hawks!” and saying that he wanted to be a “Seahawks for Life” in 2019 when he signed his last contract, Wilson informed the team probably wouldn’t sign another long-term extension in Seattleapparently frustrated with the direction of the offense under Pete Carroll and offensive coordinator Shane Waldron.
“I think Russell is going to end up being booed by the fans,” Seahawks fan Breezie McGrath of Monroe said. “The way he left the team, justified or not, left a lot of fans hurt in his wake, and I’m sure they’ll make that pain known. In terms of how he should be received, I’m torn. I am inclined to say that he should be shown respect, but he would be lying if he said that he would not boo him myself.”
Russell Wilson, Seattle hero
For others, Wilson’s myriad accomplishments with the Seahawks overshadow the pain of his departure. With two Super Bowl appearances, a title and plenty of playoff memories made in front of the 12, Wilson earned a level of goodwill from the fan base that few Seattle athletes before him came close to achieving.
Although his departure hurts fans, those memorable moments will elicit a polite response from at least a portion of those in attendance on Monday.
“I think Russ will mostly get boos, but I think he deserves to be cheered. Out loud,” said Everett fan Chris Leeper. “He gave everything he had to this franchise for 10 years… He wanted to stay but the [organization] chose pete [Carroll] upon him, which they will repent.
For others, the applause will come along the way. Feelings are still too strong for a positive reception, even for the best quarterback in team history.
“The minute he retires and comes back to be inducted into the Ring [of] Honor, I will gladly applaud you. He’s a legend,” said fan Dylan Jenkins. “He is also a cornball who wanted to get out of town. If he could be present, [I don’t know] if I booed, but I definitely wouldn’t cheer.”
A good number of other people agreed that Wilson is likely to get a mixed reaction when he takes the field. Polite applause at the start, in honor of all the 2012 third-round pick accomplished with the team. and did it for the communitybut a loud roar if caught or throws an interception.
“I will give a polite round of golf applause when I am introduced. I’m thankful for the good times and the Super Bowl championship,” Portland-based Seahawks fan Brian Becker said, in part. “But, I will wildly cheer him on every time he makes a mistake.”